BACKGROUND: Although rosin acid derivatives have received attention in polymer synthesis in recent years, to the best of our knowledge, they have rarely been employed as epoxy curing agents. The objective of the study reported here was to synthesize rosin-based flexible anhydride-type curing agents and demonstrate that the flexibility of a cured epoxy resin can be manipulated by selection of rosin-based anhydride-type curing agents with appropriate molecular rigidity/flexibility.
RESULTS: Maleopimarate-terminated low molecular weight polycaprolactones (PCLs) were synthesized and studied as anhydride-type curing agents for epoxy curing. The chemical structures of the products were confirmed using 1H NMR spectroscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Mechanical and thermal properties of the cured epoxy resins were studied. The results indicate that both the epoxy/anhydride equivalent ratio and the molecular weight of PCL diol play important roles in the properties of cured resins.
CONCLUSION: Rosin-based anhydride-terminated polyesters could be used as bio-based epoxy curing agents. A broad spectrum of mechanical and thermal properties of the cured epoxy resins can be obtained by varying the molecular length of the polyester segment and the epoxy/curing agent ratio. Copyright © 2009 Society of Chemical Industry